Charles Co. Public Schools News Briefs - Southern Maryland Headline News

Charles Co. Public Schools News Briefs

Early childhood registration begins April 22

Registration for prekindergarten and kindergarten students begins Tuesday, April 22, at all Charles County public elementary schools. To enter prekindergarten for the 2014-15 school year, students must be four years old by September 1. To be eligible for kindergarten for the 2014-15 school year, students must be five years old by September 1.

Registration for in-county students is conducted at the individual elementary schools. Parents can contact their child’s elementary school prior to April 22 to schedule an appointment with the registrar. To find out what elementary school your address is zoned for, use the School Locator feature on the Charles County Public Schools website at Contact the department of student services at 301-934-7326 if you need information about registering a child who is moving to the area.

All children entering Charles County Public Schools must have the following information:

-- A physical examination by a physician or a certified practitioner (physicals must be completed between nine months prior to and six months after entering school);

-- Proof of required immunizations against communicable diseases (the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene 896 form showing the required immunizations is available at any school);

-- Proof that the student has completed the grade prior to the one in which the parent is seeking enrollment, such as a report card marked promoted;

-- The child's birth certificate or other acceptable proof of birth (passport/visa; physician's certificate; baptismal or church certification; hospital certificate; or birth registration). If the child was born in Maryland, a copy of his/her birth certificate can be purchased from the Charles County Department of Health, 301-609-6900; and

-- Two proofs of residency: deed, current signed verifiable lease or rental agreement (with signatures of both parties), current utility bill (complete with name and address), statement of residence verification form accompanied by two acceptable proofs of residency for the owner/lessee of the property, ratified purchase contract and letter with settlement date, property tax bill for domicile (not assessment), most recent property insurance bill, current pay check with name and address, property title record, current court document (with name, date, and home address), current government issued document that includes name, date and home address such as documentation of benefits from the Social Security Administration, and written documentation of a home visit by a pupil personnel worker. Call the department of student services at 301-934-7326 with questions about proofs of residency.

Any proof of residency, bill, or other document must be presented in its entirety with parent/guardian name and both the residence/service address as well as the mailing address including city, state and current date.

Students who are transferring from another school in Maryland should also have a copy of the Student Record Card 7 that is completed by the sending school. The Student Record Card 7 is also called the Maryland Student Withdrawal/Transfer Record.

The selection of prekindergarten students is based on criteria and guidelines set by the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) and Charles County Public Schools. Placement in the program is based on need in the following three categories:

-- Category one: economically disadvantaged or homeless children; MSDE defines economically disadvantaged as children eligible for free lunch, or homeless status documented by CCPS;

-- Category two: prior participation in a state or federally funded program, such as Head Start or Even Start; English Language Learners (ELL), Speech IEP (Individualized Education Plan) or Child Find Referral Form, or eligible family circumstances; and

-- Category three: children who are not eligible for categories one or two, and if vacancies exist, which are determined on a school-by-school basis.

For more information, visit the CCPS website at or contact the office of early childhood education at 301-934-7360.

Applications for early kindergarten entrance due by June 2

Charles County Public Schools has procedures and guidelines for early entrance into the kindergarten program. Parents must request and submit an application by June 2 for their child to be tested for early kindergarten admission. The school system will begin to accept applications on April 22.

Early admission for the 2014-15 school year is open only to children whose fifth birthday falls between Sept. 2 and Oct. 31, 2014, and who reside with a parent or guardian in Charles County. State law requires students entering kindergarten to be five years old by Sept. 1 in the school year in which the child registers. In some cases, early admission is granted to children who turn five years old between Sept. 2 and Oct. 31; however, there are a number of considerations and rigorous admission standards.

To be considered for early admission, children must demonstrate exceptional ability in social, emotional, cognitive and physical development. Potential early admission students are tested through the Charles County Public Schools office of early childhood education, which uses a standardized test that takes approximately 60 minutes and includes mathematics, reading/language and general knowledge for kindergarten. A certified teacher or administration member administers the test individually to each child.

In addition to testing, the following are other guidelines set by the Maryland State Department of Education and Charles County Public Schools for early entrance into a kindergarten program.

-- Children must be five years old by Oct. 31.

-- Student placement in the program is based on exceptional ability in social emotional, cognitive and physical development.

-- Children are conditionally admitted early into kindergarten and observed for a 30-day placement review at the beginning of the school year.

-- Acceptance for early admission and registration does not guarantee continuation in kindergarten beyond the 30-calendar day placement review.

Testing for early kindergarten admission in the 2014-15 school year begins June 9 and ends July 14. Notification of decisions of conditional acceptance or denial for early admission will be mailed to parents the week of July 21. Applications must be received or postmarked by June 2. Students will not be tested if their application was received after the deadline.

Additionally, early kindergarten admission does not guarantee that a child will be promoted to the next grade. Decisions regarding the promotion of early admission kindergartners to first grade will be based on performance during the kindergarten year. Students who do not qualify for early entrance into kindergarten are not automatically placed into the prekindergarten program. Parents must submit a separate application for prekindergarten admission, and acceptance is based on state guidelines.

For more information on the early kindergarten entrance requirements and application process, visit the CCPS website at Call the office of early childhood education at 301-934-7360 with questions.

Proposed Earth science textbook on display

A new textbook proposed by Charles County Public Schools for the 2014-15 school year is available for review at the Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building in La Plata, and several county high schools.

The textbook is proposed for use at the high school level with ninth-grade students. The text, EarthComm Project-Based Space and Earth System Science, 2nd edition, is published by It’s About Time and is proposed as an alternative and potential replacement for the current ninth-grade Earth science text. The new textbook includes teacher resources created specifically to align with the Next Generation Science Standards, student activities incorporating Common Core reading and writing literacy skills, and utilizes partnerships with the National Science Foundation and the American Geological Institute Foundation.

The proposed text is on display at the Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building, and La Plata, North Point and Thomas Stone high schools. The Board of Education is reviewing the book and will take action at the April 1 Board meeting. Community members are encouraged to review the books and provide comment in writing to the Board of Education, P.O. Box 2770, La Plata, MD, 20646; through e-mail to; or in person at Public Forum on April 1, 6 p.m., at the Starkey Building.

Maryland AP scores continue to hold top spot

Governor Martin O’Malley took La Plata and North Point high school students on a victory lap Feb. 10 during a short Telepresence conference announcing Maryland as top in the nation for Advanced Placement (AP) success.

“Thank you. I get to do the victory lap for you, but you’ve done the hard work,” O’Malley told AP teachers and students during the Telepresence chat. The governor announced Maryland students have led the nation in success on AP exams for eight consecutive years.

“This morning, the College Board’s “10th Annual AP Report to the Nation” came out, and for the eighth year in a row, Maryland made the most success in students achieving three and above. Almost 30 percent of seniors scored three and above on one AP exam, well above the national average of 20 percent,” O’Malley said.

At La Plata, where AP students and teachers participated in the conference, student success is even higher. La Plata seniors who earned a score of 3 or higher on one or more AP exams reached 37.8 percent, a number that has steadily increased since 2008. The percentage of scores 3 and above for tests taken by all La Plata students in 2013 was 53.8 percent.

La Plata senior Sarah Holmes says La Plata students are successful because they work hard and have dedicated AP teachers. She said she strives to score a 3 or above, which is the score at which many higher education institutions award college credit for high school students. Holmes credits La Plata’s AP teachers for her success, saying they work around student schedules, hold after-school study sessions and, “make it easy for students to succeed.”

Holmes, who is taking multiple AP classes this year, shared experiences her AP teachers have made possible, including meeting via Telepresence with professors nationwide who relate real-world conflicts that help students make connections to what they are learning in AP Human Geography.

At North Point, senior Ethan Kriemelmeyer talked with O’Malley about his AP computer science class and explained how it allows students to enhance their ability to code and their computer science skills. The College Board has selected Charles County Public Schools to pilot AP Computer Science Principles, which will be offered at North Point and Westlake high schools next school year.

O’Malley urged the students to pursue computer science classes, saying there is a great new world waiting and jobs aplenty for those who learn computer science skills.

Mary Bailey, the Charles County Public Schools 2013 Teacher of the Year, joined the governor and State Superintendent of Schools Lillian Lowery for the conference. Bailey commended the students for taking on the rigor and challenges of AP and AP testing. Superintendent Kimberly Hill echoed the praise to the La Plata students following the conference. She lauded them stepping up and choosing to take rigorous Advanced Placement Courses. “It’s hard, and a lot of people don’t take hard classes.”

The College Board’s Advanced Placement Program, which began in 1955, allows students to pursue college-level studies while still in high school. Charles County Public Schools offers 30 AP courses. In 2013, Charles County Public Schools administered 3,759 AP tests, which is 193.7 percent higher than in 2002.

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